Less is more when keeping up with the Joneses

Keeping up with the Joneses takes on a whole new meaning when two crazy but brave individuals in bathrobes move into Federation Square next week. 

The New Joneses: Doing More with Less challenges actor Camilla Jackson and stay-at-home-dad Adam Stayfer to scavenge whatever they need, including a bed and homewares, by borrowing, renting or swapping things.

They won’t be entirely slumming it, with a sustainably built and architecturally designed prefab pad lifted into the square by crane, thanks to a collaboration between Unitised Building and architects Elenberg Fraser. 

Brotherhood of St Laurence and Sacred Heart Mission will have a donation bin on hand so people can give while learning about living lightly and respecting our finite resources.

Members of the public can have a stickybeak through the low-emission, recyclable home and talk to Stayfer and Jackson, who will also be entertaining school parties about living green.

“Normally I’m quite a private person, so I’m probably going to freak right out,” Stayfer laughs. “I’m excited about the adventure, and the unknown element. It’s like playing pirates but with a cause. I’m happy to be raising awareness about buying cool stuff, giving it a second chance.”

An unabashed scavenger, Jackson says she’s always on the hunt for discarded furniture, and once found a prized jumper in a puddle. “It’s one of my favourites,’’ she giggles.

 “I’m always on the lookout, and I’m really interested to hear what people think of the whole thing, and if they practise that kind of living in their day-to-day world.”

The pair will be assured of at least one good feed when British chef Douglas McMaster, currently showing off his skills in hardware Street’s Silo by Joost, crafts a degustation meal on Wednesday night, entirely from offcuts and scraps that would normally be thrown out.

Jackson’s childhood memories come flooding back as we talk about scavenging. “We’re like the Wombles,” she says, breaking into song, “making good use of the things that we find, things that the everyday folk leave behind.” 

The New Joneses will be at Federation Square from October 8-12

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